LONDON (Reuters) - When the Wimbledon draw is made next week there will be a few players hoping the name Gilles Muller is nowhere near theirs.
The left-hander from Luxembourg is enjoying the best form of his 16-year career and is arguably the form player on grass having put together a seven-match winning run.
The 34-year-old carved down 12 aces on Friday as he beat former champion Sam Querrey at the Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club.
But he is no one-trick pony.
Muller, something of a late bloomer has terrific touch, a tidy baseline game and, most impressively, still revels in the dying art of serve and volley tennis.
Ranked a career-high 26, and rising, Muller could clearly do some damage at Wimbledon where, surprisingly, has never got past the third round in nine attempts.
This is a year of firsts for the Luxembourger, though, having won his maiden ATP title at Sydney in January and claiming a second last week on the lawns of Den Bosch.
The father of two said his new-found status had taken a while to get used to.
“You can understand that it was something that I was working for my whole career, I mean I had to wait 16 years,” he told reporters on Friday after dispatching Querrey 6-4 7-6(5).
”You can imagine the weight that I had on my shoulders to get that first trophy. When I got it, it was tough, to be honest. The first weeks after that were kind of a lot of questioning in my mind. So what do we do now?
“It’s something you work for for so long, and then basically you reach that goal, so what are we doing now?”
With those initial questions, Muller has gone from strength to strength, reaching the Estoril final on clay to prove that he really is a man for all surfaces.
It is on grass, though, that his chances of a career-defining moment look most likely, especially as he will be going into Wimbledon as a seed and with his confidence overflowing.
“I think it’s a lot about momentum,” Muller, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, said.
”I think on grass everything goes so fast, and I feel like even when you don’t play well you can still stay in the match with your serve.
“I feel that on grass I‘m always taking the good choice on important moments like I did on break points today.”
Muller, his country’s only player in the top 1,600 in the ATP rankings, is clearly revelling in the golden days of his career - another example of the 30-something brigade proving that tennis careers can now flourish for longer.
“I was never top 30 before in my life, and now this year for the first time I have a ”2“ in front of my ranking,” he said.
“I always dreamed of playing in front of (my two boys), It feels like I don’t want to stop.”
Editing by Ed Osmond